Thru-hike Gear List

1313902.large Camping and the Outdoors

My 2014 Appalachian Trail Gear List.  This is also a good way for all of you 2016’ers to double check that you have everything!  I have successfully hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 152 days!!!  I won’t say I know everything there is to know about gear, but I can say this.  What I had, worked for me, and I finished.  That, in itself, should say a lot.

EDIT – Pack Base weight – 20.2 lbs.  This will change by the end of the week.

Base weight packed bag (no food,water) 20.2 lbs

Unpacked bag (no food)

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight - 20.2 lbs.

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight – 20.2 lbs.

Tent/pack/sleep

Backpack + Raincover
-I used the ULA Circuit 2.2 lbs, however I ended up switching to this

Osprey Exos 58 at 2.7 pounds, it’s still lightweight, and can fit A LOT more in it.

Raincover  Osprey Ultralight Raincover
3.7 oz (seriously ultralight)

Tent and groundclothMSR HUBBA 1P Tent2 lb 7 oz, down to 1 lb. 10 oz.  This lasted me the entire trip, I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS TENT!

MSR Hubba Footprint (for under tent)7 oz.

Sleeping bag (winter)Western Mountaineering Sycamore$480 – expensive is worth is when you are camping in the cold!  I hiked in 2.5 ft of snow, and the temps hit downwards of 13 degrees.  (25*) Regular – 2 lbs w/ stuff sack

Sleeping bag linerSea To Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus  $65.  (adds 20* warmth) 9.3 oz

 Sleeping PadThermarest NeoAir Xlite (Large) 12 0z.  (Lightest for long trips, mine lasted the entire AT).  One of the most important items for a good night sleep outside of your tent and sleeping bag.  If you can save a pound with some new technology, it’s worth the extra money in my book.  At $160, this is a little more expensive than most sleep pads, but weighing in at 12 oz, it gets my vote.  *Note – Had a small leak in pad by Massachusetts (1500 miles into the hike), returned to REI for brand new one, no questions asked.

What I’m wearing

Shoes + InsolesSaloman Xa 3d Pro Ultra II Trail Running Shoes  /Insoles –Superfeet Green 1.76 lbs (both trail runners and insoles)  Now that is light.  Superfeet saved my life, and I believe I hiked the entire trail because of them.  They are worth checking out.  They have a couple options, but Green are the toughest.

Socks – Darn Tough  3 0z.   Best socks with life time warranty.  Get them.

UnderwearExofficio give and go mesh briefsPrevent the chafe.  You will thank me later.  Exofficio are THE BEST underwear to hike in.  I started off with regular briefs and barely survived.  I switched to these and they were a life changer.

SS Shirt – Patagonia Mens Merino Silkweight T-shirt 4.8 oz.

LS Shirt – Smartwool Midweight Zip Top 8 oz.

ShortsNylon running shorts 3.8 oz.

Trekking poles – Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork 1 lb 2 oz. I cannot stress this enough, trekking poles will save your knees and joints on long distance hikes.  This specific type of trekking poles were the MOST popular on the trail, as they left no blisters on your hands.  The price is worth it.  Black diamond is a great company.

Wallet – small ziploc bag will hold wallet/phone/headphones – will replace as needed

Watch – High Gear Alti-Xt (records temp/altitude among other things I don’t need)  🙂 Overall just looks awesome.

Bandana – 1 oz.

Clothing

Stuff sack8 L Sea to Summit stuff sack 2 0z.

Cold weather jacket/pillowPatagonia New Nano Puff Hooded Jacket12.6 oz.  Yes, this doubled as my pillow during the night while inside a stuff sack.  All you need.

Underwear – extra pair (1)

Long UnderwearIcebreaker Mens Long Underwear7 0z.  Necessary if traveling in cold.  (It hit 13 at night on the Appalachian Trail, and some days were below freezing as well)

Short Sleeve Shirt – polyester T shirt for camp – 4 oz.

GlovesSmartwool Liner Gloves2.3 oz.

Socks – 2 pairs Darn Tough 6 oz.

Rain JacketPatagonia Mens Torrentshell Jacket14 oz.  Used for an entire 5 months on trail, kept me dry 🙂

Eating and Drinking

Water containers – 1 L water bottle and Osprey Hydraulics 2Liter Resevoir11.2 oz.

Water TreatmentAquamira drops 1 oz.

StoveJetboil Minimo14.6 oz – comes with it’s own pot.

Pot – I recently switched over to the Jetboil Minimo It has not disappointed!  It cooks meals quicker than the snowpeak, and comes with it’s own pot.

Bear line50 ft paracord 4 oz.

Spork – .64 oz.

Miscellaneous

Bag liner – Compactor trash bag 2 oz.

Duct Tape + lighters – 2 oz.

HeadlampBlack Diamond Storm Headlamp3.9 oz.  (I night hiked A LOT)

Camera + chargerNikon Coolpix AW120Waterproof, shockproof, Appalachian Trail proof – 9 oz.

Cell phone/charger/case/battery – Iphone 5s / New Trent (USB capable, charges 2-3 times they say)

Anker Dual USB Charger – Can charge 2 items simultaneously with 1 wall plug in.  (Handy for the phone/kindle, as well as when other people need to share the same outlet)

Glasses + case – Glasses/case/contacts/solution 6 oz.  I will be bringing contacts as well as glasses.

Hygiene – (toothbrush/paste/floss/nail clippers/soap (Dr Bronners peppermint)/germ-x)

Towel – bandana 1 0z.

First aid – (alcohol swabs/ibuprophen (lots)/benadryl/duct tape/bandaids/gauze/tweezers/safety pins) *Thanks Redditors!

Trail Guide/JournalAWOL 2014 NOBO Guide 8 oz.

Kindle– 10.5 oz.(I read countless books on the Appalachian Trail, I use the kindle on every trip.  Worth the less than a lb. of weight in my opinion)

KnifeSmith & Wesson extreme ops knife   3.2 oz.

Body Glide Anti Chafe – 1.5 oz.

Gear – The most important part of any adventure

I have been on quite a few adventures now.  Having thru hiked the 2185.3 mile Appalachian Trail in 5 months, taking some time to do a completely different hike on the west coast in a more remote and rugged section of the Lost Coast Trail, etc.  I have had time to evaluate and reevaluate hiking gear.  I have made a detailed list of the gear I have used on my page under the subsection gear.  Or here.

This can be used for long and short trips alike.  I picked out the best gear that worked for me, and I would like to share that information with you.  Please refer to my gear page here, and if you have questions, feel free to contact me directly!

Best,

-Stretch

Gear

1313902.large Camping and the Outdoors

 

A brief summary of the gear I took with me.  This is also a good way for you guys to double check that you have everything!  I have successfully hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 152 days!!!  I won’t say I know everything there is to know about gear, but I can say this.  What I had, worked for me, and I finished.  That, in itself, should say a lot.

EDIT – Pack Base weight – 20.2 lbs.  This will change by the end of the week.

Base weight packed bag (no food,water) 20.2 lbs

Unpacked bag (no food)

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight - 20.2 lbs.

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight – 20.2 lbs.

Tent/pack/sleep

Backpack + Raincover
-I used the ULA Circuit 2.2 lbs, however I ended up switching to this

Osprey Exos 58 at 2.7 pounds, it’s still lightweight, and can fit A LOT more in it.

Raincover  Osprey Ultralight Raincover
3.7 oz (seriously ultralight)

Tent and groundclothMSR HUBBA 1P Tent2 lb 7 oz, down to 1 lb. 10 oz.  This lasted me the entire trip, I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS TENT!

MSR Hubba Footprint (for under tent)7 oz.

Sleeping bag (winter)Western Mountaineering Sycamore$480 – expensive is worth is when you are camping in the cold!  I hiked in 2.5 ft of snow, and the temps hit downwards of 13 degrees.  (25*) Regular – 2 lbs w/ stuff sack

Sleeping bag linerSea To Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus  $65.  (adds 20* warmth) 9.3 oz

PadThermarest NeoAir Xlite (regular) 12 0z. (Lightest for long trips, mine lasted the entire AT)

What I’m wearing

Shoes + InsolesSaloman Xa 3d Pro Ultra II Trail Running Shoes  /Insoles –Superfeet Green 1.76 lbs (both trail runners and insoles)  Now that is light.  Superfeet saved my life, and I believe I hiked the entire trail because of them.  They are worth checking out.  They have a couple options, but Green are the toughest.

Socks – Darn Tough  3 0z.   Best socks with life time warranty.  Get them.

UnderwearExofficio give and go mesh briefsPrevent the chafe.  You will thank me later.  Exofficio are THE BEST underwear to hike in.  I started off with regular briefs and barely survived.  I switched to these and they were a life changer.

SS Shirt – Patagonia Mens Merino Silkweight T-shirt 4.8 oz.

LS Shirt – Smartwool Midweight Zip Top 8 oz.

ShortsNylon running shorts 3.8 oz.

Trekking poles – Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork 1 lb 2 oz. I cannot stress this enough, trekking poles will save your knees and joints on long distance hikes.  This specific type of trekking poles were the MOST popular on the trail, as they left no blisters on your hands.  The price is worth it.  Black diamond is a great company.

Wallet – small ziploc bag will hold wallet/phone/headphones – will replace as needed

Watch – High Gear Alti-Xt (records temp/altitude among other things I don’t need)  🙂 Overall just looks awesome.

Bandana – 1 oz.

Clothing

Stuff sack8 L Sea to Summit stuff sack 2 0z.

Cold weather jacket/pillowPatagonia Nano Puff Hooded Jacket 12.6 oz.

Underwear – extra pair (1)

Long UnderwearIcebreaker 7 0z.

Short Sleeve Shirt – polyester T shirt for camp – 4 oz.

Gloves Smartwool liner gloves 2.3 oz.

Socks – 2 pairs Darn Tough 6 oz.

Rain JacketPatagonia Torrentshell Waterproof Rain Jacket 14 oz.

Eating and Drinking

Water containers – 1 L water bottle and 3 L Osprey Hydraulics bladder 10.9 oz.

Water TreatmentAquamira drops 1 oz.

StoveSnow Peak GigaPower 3.75 oz.

PotSnowPeak Titanium Trek 900 Cook Set (pot 30 oz. lid 8 oz.) 6.2 oz.

Bear line50 ft paracord 4 oz.

Spork – .64 oz.

Miscellaneous

Bag liner – Compactor trash bag 2 oz.

Duct Tape + lighters – 2 oz.

HeadlampBlack Diamond Storm 3.9 oz.

Camera + chargerNikon Coolpix AW110 9 oz.

Cell phone/charger/case/battery – Iphone 5s / New Trent (USB capable, charges 2-3 times they say)

Anker Dual USB Charger – Can charge 2 items simultaneously with 1 wall plug in.  (Handy for the phone/kindle, as well as when other people need to share the same outlet)

Glasses + case – Glasses/case/contacts/solution 6 oz.  I will be bringing contacts as well as glasses.

Hygiene – (toothbrush/paste/floss/nail clippers/soap (Dr Bronners peppermint)/germ-x)

Towel – bandana 1 0z.

First aid – (alcohol swabs/ibuprophen (lots)/benadryl/duct tape/bandaids/gauze/tweezers/safety pins) *Thanks Redditors!

Trail Guide/JournalAWOL 2014 NOBO Guide 8 oz.

Kindle– 10.5 oz.(I read countless books on the Appalachian Trail, I use the kindle on every trip.  Worth the less than a lb. of weight in my opinion)

KnifeSmith & Wesson extreme ops knife   3.2 oz.

Body Glide Anti Chafe – 1.5 oz.

I’m (temporarily) retired

Last night was my last day of work, at least until September.  This was all pre-planned, I did not quit in the way we all dream of quitting our jobs, but worked hard until the last couple minutes, and bounced quietly.  But I’m done!  This is a gift for myself for my 30th birthday.  I have been aimlessly meandering through life for the last 29 years, pursuing different goals, career paths, girlfriends etc.  I feel I have lacked what I love, and that is adventure.  It’s easy to lose sight of what drives you, with the thousands of daily tasks, and everything aligned and pointed to adventure.  I went with it.  I have until Tuesday to prepare for the road trip to MA.  I need to clean the entire house, make my room rentable (if my roomate needs to rent out a room, she claims the entire house while I’m gone), and get my gear in order. 

Tomorrow I will be hiking Picacho Peak Image which is easily the sketchiest, (most fun) mountain in town.  Saturday night, we will be heading up to Flagstaff to celebrate my 30th birthday, and a little bit of a going away party, since I won’t be seeing them again for 6 months(ish).  Sunday is my designated hangover day, Monday is designated for packing my car up, and Tuesday I must wake at the crack of dawn, take my dog hiking, and then head out for a nice 14 hour drive to Denver.  I will be staying with my college friend Rachel for the night, maybe two nights, and then I have until March 9th to get to MA.  So who knows! 

Until then, I will just be enjoying the weather of Arizona (80’s until I leave).

“And if you ever get lost, you can just follow your dreams”

25 day countdown, 2 weeks notice – No more work!

That’s right.  2 weeks notice was given last Friday!  Friday, Feb 21st will be the last day.  9 more days!  25 more days until I attempt a thru-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail!  Almost time to distance myself from everything I currently know, and am comfortable with, to branch out into the unknown of adventure.  Time to lead a simpler life for 5-6 months.  Mundane worries put aside, as I strive to decide simply where I will sleep for the night, what food to pack for the days until I resupply, deprivation leading to the appreciation of a life I used to live, and positive thoughts of the future I will return to.  They say the thousand daily tasks can make a man forget his original ambitions.   This is certainly true for myself.  I will take this time to take a step back, take a deep breath, refocus, and hopefully come back with more confidence, more purpose, and will of had the time of my life.   A tad bit dramatic, but those are my thoughts currently.

I leave in less than 2 weeks, February 25 to drive across country with my dog.   My aim is MA, staying the first night(s) *depends on how fun it gets – in Colorado with my college friend Crazy Rachel.  My flight isn’t until March 9, so I could take my time, or hurry up, whichever feels better.  I do need to be in town at least a couple days to get my head straight, train my parents who will be my long distance command center how to pay my bills from my dwindling bank account, and get some last gear.  I found out my buddy works at an outfitter and is offering me a chance at employee prices, so I am taking advantage of that, thus waiting until the last minute (It’s in NH).

To all those who just went out on the trail, stay warm!  I’ve noted the weather conditions from my internet source a friend sent to me (Appalachian Trail Planner) are less than equable, the hiker hostel posted some photos of the beginning of the trail 2 days ago, snow – and lots of it.  1798256_10151997788162991_782504860_n

Looks like another wintry mix storm (ice/sleet etc. coming in)  Be safe everyone!

Getting Everything Ready…

Over the last couple weeks I have been dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s, in my own little way.  I purchased David ‘AWOL’ Millers 2014 Northbound Guidebook (http://www.amazon.com/The-A-T-Guide-Northbound-2014/dp/0982980841) $15 or something ridiculously cheap.  This was exciting because I can map out the first miles, elevation change, where the shelters are, and decide ultimately if I want to start at the approach trail, or 1 mile north of Springer, and loop back South to Springer Mountain, then doubling back on my way north.  I have had people tell me not to do the approach trail, as it is difficult and there is no reason to hurt yourself on a part of the trail that does not count.  I believe I am going to go wherever the nice people of the hostel take me!  Either way, I figure I will be starting out slow (10 miles and under per day) to avoid injury. 

I have a Nikon Coolpix AW110 camera (http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras/nikon-coolpix-aw110-black/4505-6501_7-35648248.html) that I have purchased several battery packs for.  This camera is waterproof/shock proof and I recently tested it out a Superbowl party (It’s superbowl proof).  I have a 64 gb memory card for it.  This will be my main way of taking photos and videos.  My phone will be used sparingly, and this will be a good way to have something as a backup in the event it’s raining and I am just staring at raw beauty that I would like to save and share.  Also it has a lot more space, and I take LOTS of pictures, so get ready :). 

I am still looking for a spare battery charger that can charge my iPhone 4-5 full charges before it dies, something that will charge itself while charging, and something that might be able to charge more than 1 item (my camera).  I’m assuming I will go 4-5 days without electricity, and longer.  If anyone has any suggestions that would be terrific!!  The other items I am still missing are a down winter jacket (AZ does not have any of what I want in supply at REI) I am looking at western mountaineering ghost whisperer, sierra designs gnar hoody, and also an Arcteryx Cerium LT hoody.  This will double as my pillow when it is not cold, and essentially just good to have around at camp when it’s freezing.  I have a 40 degree Marmott sleeping bag, and I am THINKING about purchasing a good 20 degree down bag for the start and finish of the trail (It will be COLD March in the mountains of Georgia and TN).  I have a +20 degree synthetic bag liner for my 40 degree bag, but I am not sure if that will be enough, as I have tested it at the bottom of the Grand Canyon recently and was a little cold when it hit the 20s at night. 

So that’s it!  Other than that I have been biding my time, I will put my 2 weeks notice in at work this Friday (YIKES! that went fast!), saving money, and cooking SO MUCH FOOD!  In fact as I’m typing I have some ribs, twice baked mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables with a balsamic glaze in the works.  Image (I don’t mess around, I LIKE TO EAT), and I won’t get this good of food for a while.  My last day of work is Feb 21, and I have planned a little going away party up in Flagstaff, AZ Feb 22 (It will also be my 30th birthday at midnight) for a little high altitude drinking/going away party.  Then it’s time to sober up, get everything packed and leave Feb 25.  So far the plan is to hike with my dog early in the morning of Feb 25, get him wicked tired, and drive to Colorado to stay with my friend Rachel.  After that, I am either heading up to Chicago to see some friends, of just straight to MA. 

I should have about a week gap staying at my parents house where I can see some friends from where I grew up, get the last of my gear (my friend Matt works at an outfitter, and is offering discounts), and I will embark March 9 for Georgia.  I just found out I have an old Fraternity brother living in Blacksburg VA, about 20 miles from the trail.  This is where I am sending my first drop box.  He said I can stay and depending on where I am when Trail Days starts, he might come with and give me a ride to and from.  Not bad!  Getting very excited!  Can’t wait to share this experience with all of you.

Health Insurance and the Appalachian Trail

Yes, at some point we all have to ask ourselves the tough question.  What kind (if any) of health insurance should I get?  I have been putting this off for far too long, thinking it will naturally solve itself.  This one is tough, there is no way I want to risk not having any health insurance, in case of a fall, contracting some sort of disease (Giardia from untreated water, Lyme Disease which seems to be so prevalent on the trail, West Nile Virus from those damn skeeters), getting mauled by a dance-happy moose, bit by a snake, etc.  There are a lot of dangers on the Appalachian Trail!  Since I have had my history of injuries (torn rotator cuff, 2 spinal compression fractures, surgery on left ankle, eye surgery) and seem to come down with all types of the colds flus that go around, all the better reason to get health insurance.

I looked into the possibility of trip insurance, I have read other bloggers that have gotten this, and said it covered medical emergencies for the entire trip (6 months in their case).  However, my parents did not think this to be enough, and were willing to help me get better coverage.  I looked into Obamacare, went into the healthcare.gov website and applied.  This was not as scary or hard as I have been told.  After doing some research, I found the platinum health care held the plans I wanted.  I cross referenced the plans they had on healthcare.gov with the plans that Blue Cross Blue Shield offers and found them to be the same exact price.  I ended up just calling Blue Cross and getting the plan through them.  I had to go through the state I was living in (Arizona) AZblue.com, and asked if I would be covered in all states.  I CAN be covered in all states as long as the plan didn’t have the word select or alliance in it.  I ended up going with a plan called Co Pay Complete 20.  Basically any doctors/hospitals/Urgent Cares that take Blue Cross I will be accepted at IN NETWORK.  Gangster.  It took a weekend of reading but it had its rewards.  The cost is great, but it will be worth it in the long run.

I wanted to post this in case anyone had any similar questions on health insurance.  I would be more than willing to help answer what I can about it.  I seem to be the only one of my friends who has visited healthcare.gov and came out alive.  The trip starts in 6 weeks and I am fully covered!  Starting to sleep easier 🙂

Hiker Hostel booked!

Alright, I leave in 35 days to drive across country arriving in Andover, MA.  Hanging out/preparing until I fly to Georgia March 9.  I have been emailing with a new Appalachian Trail friend also hiking this year and have received good advice as to where to start the trip.  I found http://www.hikerhostel.com to be ‘A great place to start’.  I researched this on trip advisor, 18 reviews, all 18 were excellent.  Intriguing.  4000 sq. feet, a bunk, a shuttle from North Marta Station to the hostel, BREAKFAST, and 8 ounces of fuel (canister is $3.99 as Revid has provided in the comments), and a ride to either the Approach trail or Springer Mt. parking lot.  All for $80?  http://giphy.com/gifs/7ND8xzTlR5b8s (Thru-hiker special).  Wow.  Plus, this place looks dope.  Look at that porch!  Image

On another note, I have been doing some research (I typed things into google) on what I can and cannot bring on my flight to Georgia.  Apparently I can check everything except for a fuel canister (I won’t even risk bringing an empty one) which does not worry me because this hiker hostel offers an 8 ounce on for the aforementioned $3.99 price.  Has anyone packed hiking poles and are they a hassle at the airport?  These will be checked and likely tossed around potentially broken by my favorite airline employees.  (I have a friend who calls a day a “no hitter” when he does not have to touch a luggage bag.)

Anyways, 35 days until I am in my car with my nuts dog well on my way to the fine state of Massachusetts!  Looking forward to it!

2 Month countdown!

Wow, everything has been flying by.  With Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, work and the amount of other crap I keep myself preoccupied with, I find myself here, 2 months til I land in Georgia.  Mentally, I’m prepared (I read a great book ‘Appalachian Trials’ by Zach Davis, that I think hit a lot of points that were missing in the other books I have read, I have almost all the gear I need, I am missing a couple key things but have the plan to collect shortly.  I purchased a new pair of trail runners – Salomon Xa Pro 3D, I have heard good things and it is a great company.  I’ve tried them out on a couple short day hikes with my dog, and I have decided I like them.  But we will see how they last.

The only things left to purchase really are a cozy light weight down jacket that will double as my pillow, and a couple hiking shirts.  Other than that, I’m ready to start.  I’ve become increasingly excited and I guess anxious, as one would expect.  I am going to leave everything I know, the comforts of home and technology on demand, and attempt a 2200 mile backpacking trip with a dropout rate of 70%.  I’m so excited to be back out in the woods, feel the fresh mountain air, not report to a boss every day, go at my own pace, take in the scenery, and increasingly be in the best cardiovascular shape of my life.  My friends have been asking questions ranging from ‘Are you taking a gun’ (No I’m not, but people in Arizona rarely travel without one, even to work), to ‘Are you insane?’.  I believe a lot of them are excited for me and would like to do something like this of their own if they had the time/funds.  Life is what you choose!

My journey begins shortly after my 30th birthday, February 23, which I will then pack up and drive myself and my dog Shwayze across country to Massachusetts where I grew up.  My dog does not do well in the car..  So if any of you have any tips of how to road trip with a dog without going insane, let me know :).  I will arrive in MA sometime around March 1, staying at my parents house until I depart the morning of March 9 for Atlanta.  I have yet to arrange a pickup/hostel stay that night, but I have had some good advice from a new found friend that will also be hiking the trail starting March 12.  And then it is GAME ON!  I can’t wait!  I look forward to blogging about this adventure as well, so keep checking in!

Enjoy the day!

Ticket Booked !

One way ticket to Georgia has been purchased!  This. Just. Got. Real.

Date
Flight
Departure/Arrival
Sun Mar 9

Seat selection
for AirTran
flights only
5642

Operated
by AirTran
# 0642
Depart BOSTON LOGAN, MA (BOS) on AirTran at 11:26 AM
Arrive in ATLANTA, GA (ATL) at 2:10 PM
Travel Time 2 hrs 44 mins
Your trip is on AirTran Airways. If you need to print a boarding pass or check a bag, please visit the AirTran ticket counter.

 

 

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